As it happened | U.S. President Donald Trump's first day in India

U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump tour the historic Taj Mahal, in Agra on February 24, 2020.

U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump tour the historic Taj Mahal, in Agra on February 24, 2020.   | Photo Credit: Reuters

Ahmedabad, Agra and New Delhi are part of President Trump's itinerary

With massive decorations and elaborate security arrangements, Ahmedabad is ready to welcome U.S. President Donald Trump, who will be attending ‘Namaste Trump’, a mega event at the Motera cricket stadium.

Similar to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Howdy Modi! rally held in New Hampshire last year, Mr. Trump will take part in 'Namaste Trump' event at the newly-constructed cricket stadium in Ahmedabad. From resurfacing roads and planting palm trees along the streets to building a wall apparently to hide slums, the Gujarat government is pulling out all the stops to impress Mr. Trump.

 

POTUS schedule:

February 24

11.30 a.m. : Arrival in Ahmedabad, visit to Sabarmati Ashram.

1.05 p.m. : 'Namaste Trump' event with PM Modi.

5.15 p.m. : Arrival in Agra for Taj Mahal visit. Ticket counters at the Taj Mahal will close at 11:30 a.m.

7.30 p.m. : Arrival in New Delhi.

February 25

10.30 a.m. : Wreath laying at the Samadhi of Mahatma Gandhi at Rajghat.

11.00 a.m. : Meeting with PM Modi at the front lawns of Hyderabad House (Discussion is expected to cover military and security cooperation, including defence agreements).

Here are the live updates:

7.45 pm

Donald Trump lands in Delhi for main leg of India visit

U.S. President Donald Trump arrived in the national capital on Monday evening for the main leg of his maiden India trip during which he will hold extensive talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The U.S. President arrived in Ahmedabad around noon for a little less than 36-hour-long trip to India.

After attending the "Namaste Trump" event at the Motera stadium in Ahmedabad, he and his delegation travelled to Agra where they visited the Taj Mahal.

Mr. Trump was received at the airport here by Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri and a number of senior officials.

He will be accorded a ceremonial welcome at the Rashtrapati Bhavan on Tuesday morning. Mr. Trump will also pay tribute to Mahatma Gandhi at Rajghat.

Mr. Modi and Mr. Trump will later hold restricted and delegation-level talks at the Hyderabad House here.

The U.S. President will be staying at the ITC Maurya hotel.

7.00 pm

Twitterati surprised over Donald Trump not mentioning Mahatma Gandhi in visitors' book

A lot of eyeballs were raised on Twitter and many people expressed surprise as the U.S. President Donald Trump left a message in the visitors’ book at Sabarmati Ashram without any mention of Mahatma Gandhi.

A view of the Sabarmati Ashram’s visitors’ book signed by the U.S. President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump during their visit to Sabarmati Ashram.

A view of the Sabarmati Ashram’s visitors’ book signed by the U.S. President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump during their visit to Sabarmati Ashram.   | Photo Credit: PTI

In the book, Mr. Trump wrote, “To my great friend Prime Minister Modi. Thank you for this wonderful visit.”

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6.45 pm

Congress to give a complete miss of official banquet for Trump

No Congress leader will attend the official banquet, hosted by President Ram Nath Kovind, in honour of United States President Donald Trump on Tuesday, party sources said on Monday

Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad as well as Lok Sabha Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury were invited by President Kovind.

The Congress, however, decided to give the event a complete miss as Congress president Sonia Gandhi, who also heads the Congress Parliamentary Party (CPP), was not on the guest list.

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5.00 pm

Donald Trump, Melania get a tour of the Taj Mahal

U.S. President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump on Monday evening visited the iconic Taj Mahal and were given a guided tour on the history and the importance of the 17th century Mughal-era mausoleum.

Mr. Trump, accompanied by his wife, daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner, arrived here from Ahmedabad.

The Taj Mahal, which was built by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in the memory of his wife Mumtaz Mahal who died in 1631, had been refurbished for the visit.

President Trump and the First Lady held hands as they strolled through the monument's complex and later wrote in the visitors’ book.

The U.S. President’s visit to Agra and the Taj has generated huge excitement among local residents. Some shops have even displayed their own banners, welcoming Mr. Trump to India.

Also read | News analysis: Is Donald Trump soft on Pakistan?

An extensive three-layered security is in place for his Agra visit, and authorities had cleared the monument premises of visitors by noon, hours ahead of Mr. Trump’s visit.

Mr. Trump also posed for pictures in front of the monument. The couple will spend about an hour at the UNESCO heritage site to catch the sunset, before heading to Delhi.

The last U.S. President to visit the the monument was Bill Clinton, who had come to India in 2000. He had seen the Taj along with daughter Chelsea Clinton.

In 1959, then U.S. President David Dwight Eisenhower had visited the Taj along with then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru.

In 2015, former U.S. President Barack Obama was scheduled to visit the monument during his India visit, but did not do so due to security reasons. -PTI

 

4.15 pm

Trump arrives in Agra; en route to the Taj Mahal

U.S. President Donald Trump and his wife Melania arrived in Agra on Monday to keep their date with the Taj Mahal. Hundreds of artistes welcomed the American leader at the airport with beautiful performances reflecting the culture of Uttar Pradesh.

Mr. Trump was received at the Kheria airbase by Uttar Pradesh Governor Anandiben Patel and Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.

He arrived here from Ahmedabad after jointly attending the mega ‘Namaste Trump’ event at the Motera cricket stadium with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

A giant billboard featuring Mr. Trump, First Lady Melania Trump and Prime Minister Modi greeted the couple with a message — ‘Grand welcome of India’s best friend to the City of Love —Agra’.

On his arrival at the airbase, over 250 artists drawn from different parts of Uttar Pradesh performed ‘Mayur dance’, ‘Rai folk dance’, ‘Dhobia folk dance’ as sonorous sounds of ‘bumrasia’ nagada, dholak, mridang, added to the festive ambience.

The city has been spruced up to welcome Mr. Trump amid a huge security deployment.

Along the route, over 3,000 artistes spread over 21 designated areas will also present dance forms from various regions including Brij and Awadh.

Over 15,000 school students are lining up the streets on the convoy route, holding U.S. and India flags to welcome Mr. Trump as his motorcade passes through the city.

Many billboards reflecting the bonhomie between President Trump and Prime Minister Narendra Modi have been put up in Agra.

The 17th century Taj Mahal has been refurbished to welcome Mr. Trump and his family. They will spend about an hour to catch the sunset from the famed mausoleum, built by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his wife Mumtaz Mahal who died in 1631.

“From the airport, the U.S. President’s convoy will travel till the Oberoi Amarvilas hotel, situated near the East Gate of the Taj Mahal complex. From there the President, his family and members of the high-level delegation accompanying him will move to the eco-friendly golf carts that will take them around inside the monument premises,” District Magistrate of Agra Prabh N. Singh had earlier said.

As per Supreme Court directions, petrol or diesel-operated vehicles are not permitted within 500 metres of the Taj Mahal’s gate. -PTI

2.25 pm

'U.S. is a trusted partner of India'

Prime Minister Narendra Modi rises to speak again. He thanks Mr. Trump for invoking Mahatma Gandhi, Swami Vivekananda and Sardar Patel in his speech and for all the nice words he had to say about India.

He says the Motera stadium was still under construction and thanks the Gujarat Cricket Association for allowing the event to be held in the stadium, despite it still being under construction.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and U.S. President Donald Trump at a packed Sardar Patel Motera Stadium in Ahmedabad on Monday.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and U.S. President Donald Trump at a packed Sardar Patel Motera Stadium in Ahmedabad on Monday.   | Photo Credit: Vijay Soneji

He says the trust between India and the U.S. is historic. "When I met Mr. Trump for the first time, he said India has a true friend in the White House. Mr. Trump was true to his words," Mr. Modi says.

Just like the U.S., India is also enthusiastic about change. India has the world's biggest health insurance scheme, biggest sanitation scheme, biggest solar park, largest financial inclusion scheme, Mr. Modi says, listing out his government's achievements.

The U.S. is a trusted partner of India, Mr. Modi says. "India and the U.S. are natural partners", he says. Mr. Modi goes on to talk about his vision for furthering India-U.S. ties. "Together, we will fulfil this dream", he says.

He urges the crowd to say, "Bharat Mata ki Jai" and "Long live India-U.S. friendship".

Both the leaders wave at the crowd as they leave.

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2.20 pm

Our relationship with Pakistan is very good: Trump

Our relationship with Pakistan is very good, says Mr. Trump.

As we continue to build our defence cooperation, the US looks forward to providing India with some of the best & most feared military equipment on the planet. We make the greatest weapons ever made. We make the best and we are dealing now with India, he says.

Mr. Trump says Modi is a tough negotiatior.

We will seal defence deals worth USD 3 billion on Tuesday, Mr. Trump on growing India US defence ties. He praises India's entrepreneurs.

Mr. Trump also praises India's lunar programme. He says America is keen to expand space cooperation.

Mr. Trump ends his speech praising India. "God bless India. God bless USA. We love you, India!"

2.10 pm

Trump on India-U.S. defence ties

U.S. President Donald Trump now turns to showcase the growth of America during his regime. He says the country has revamped the defence capabilities.

Mr. Trump also mentions about Tiger Triumph, a bilateral tri-service amphibious military exercise involving the armed forces of India and the United States.

We make the greatest military weapons, Mr. Trump says hinting at possible defence deals with India.

Mr. Trump mentions "radical Islamic terrorism". Crowd cheers. The ISIS has been destroyed and the monster known as Al-Baghdadi is dead, Mr. Trump says.

2.05 pm

Your unity is an inspiration to the world: Trump

President Trump on Prime Minister Modi: "You are not just the pride of Gujarat, you are living proof that with hard work & devotion, Indians can accomplish anything at all, anything they want. The Prime Minister is a moving story of an incredible rise."

Mr. Trump echoes the words of Swami Vivekananda.

Mr. Trump also mentions Sachin Tendulkar and Virat Kohli. Bollywood movie Dilwale Duhaniye Le Jayenge also finds mention in his speech!

He praises the religious and linguistic diversity of the country. Your unity is an inspiration to the world, he says.

Mr. Trump also praises Indian Americans. "Gujarat is a special place. Nearly one in every four Indian Amercian is from Gujarat," he says.

1.50 pm

America loves India. America respects India. And America will remain loyal and a true friend to India: Trump

U.S. President rises to speak. Namaste! and hello to India, he says. "America loves India. America respects India. And America will remain loyal and a true friend to India," he says.

It is a profound honour to be here, he says.

My family will remember this hospitality forever, he says.

Mr. Trump recalls Mr. Modi's humble beginning as the crowd chants Modi! Modi!

Everybody loves him, but I tell you — he is very tough, Mr. Trump says.

India gives hope to the world, Mr. Trump says. India's economy has grown more than six times. It has lifted millions out of poverty. Every village has access to electricity, Mr. Trump says listing India's achievements.

India will soon be the home to the largest middle class, he says.  It is more inspiring as you have done it as a democratic, peaceful and tolerant country, he remarks.

1.45 pm

We are making a new history in Motera Stadium, says Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi hails U.S. President Donald Trump and his family for directly taking part in the event as soon as he landed from U.S.A. The world's largest democracy welcomes you, he says.

We are making a new history in Motera Stadium, says Mr. Modi recalling his Howdy Modi event.

Indian US relations are no longer a just another partnership. It’s a far greater and closer relationship, Mr. Modi tells in English.

You are in a land which had the planned city over 5000 years ago, Mr. Modi tells Mr. Trump. The Prime Minister narrates the diversity, unity and vibrancy of India.

There is so much we share, Mr. Modi says referring to India-US relations.  "There is so much that we share: Shared Values & Ideals. Shared Spirit of Enterprise & Innovation.  Shared Opportunities & Challenges. Shared Hopes & Aspirations."

He showers praise on Melania, Ivanka and Jared Kushner. "I present to you, my friend, India's friend... the President of United States of America Donald Trump" Mr. Modi says ending his speech.

1:20 p.m.

Namaste Trump event begins

As Prime Minister Modi and U.S. President Trump take the stage at the Motera Stadium, the national anthem plays.

Mr. Modi tweeted a video of the "electric atmosphere" at the Motera Stadium.

12:10 p.m.

Modi welcomes Trump at Sabarmati Ashram

President Trump’s message at Sabarmati Ashram.

President Trump’s message at Sabarmati Ashram.   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

 

Mr. Trump and Mr. Modi embarked on a 22-km- long roadshow from the Ahmedabad Airport. The leaders have arrived at the Sabarmati Ashram, where Mr. Modi will take Mr. Trump around, including Hruday Kunj, Mahatma Gandhi’s house in the Ashram.

Mr. Trump was welcomed at the Ashram with a cotton thread and a shawl.

U.S. President Donald Trump, First Lady Melania try spinning the “charkha” at Sabarmati Ashram.

U.S. President Donald Trump, First Lady Melania try spinning the “charkha” at Sabarmati Ashram.   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

 

Artistes and performers from many States were allotted a stage on the entire route to perform in their traditional attire. Around 50 stages were erected on the route, starting from the airport till Motera stadium via Indira bridge.

Authorities said over one lakh people are expected to line up along the route of the roadshow, which has been named as ‘India Road Show’ by the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation.

After the roadshow, both the leaders will reach the newly-built cricket stadium in Motera to address a gathering of over one lakh people at the Namaste Trump event.

11:40 a.m.

 

U.S. President Donald Trump arrives at Ahmedabad Airport

Prime Minister Modi with U.S. President Donald Trump, First Lady Melania at Ahmedabad International Airport.

Prime Minister Modi with U.S. President Donald Trump, First Lady Melania at Ahmedabad International Airport.   | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

 

Mr. Trump is to be welcomed with red carpet and a mega cultural show with traditional dance.

“Atithi Devo Bhava,” Prime Minister Modi said on Twitter.

“We are eager to visit India. We are on our way and will soon be meeting all,” Mr. Trump, on board the special Air Force One aircraft along with his delegation, had tweeted in Hindi earlier in the morning.

 

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10.30 am

 

PM Narendra Modi reaches Ahmedabad; to welcome U.S. President Donald Trump at airport.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived at the Ahmedabad International Airport on Monday ahead of U.S. President Donald Trump’s visit to the city, where the two leaders will take part in the “Namaste Trump” eventat Motera Stadium after holding a roadshow.

Mr. Modi reached Ahmedabad at 10.25 a.m., around one-and-a-half hours before the arrival of Mr. Trump and his delegation.

He will receive Mr. Trump and U.S. First Lady Melania Trump upon their arrival aboard the Air Force One flight, scheduled to land here at around 11.40 a.m., officials said. - PTI

9.50 am

Donald Trump, seventh U.S. President to visit India

Donald Trump will be the seventh U.S. President ever to travel to India and the first one to land in Ahmedabad, where he will be joined by Prime Minister Narendra Modi for an unprecedented roadshow and a historic joint address before a record crowd of more than one lakh people.

Mr. Trump on Sunday left for his maiden visit to India for talks with the top Indian leadership during which the two countries are expected to significantly ramp up bilateral relations, especially in the defence and strategic ties.

 

9.15 am

Melania visit: No objection to Delhi CM’s presence, says US Embassy spokesperson

spreading cheer Happiness Curriculum class in progress at the Shaheed Hemu Kalani Sarvodaya Bal Vidyalaya run by Delhi Govt at Lajpat Nagar in New Delhi. The happiness curriculum was introduced by the Delhi Government last year. PHOTO: R. V. Moorthy R_V_Moorthy

spreading cheer Happiness Curriculum class in progress at the Shaheed Hemu Kalani Sarvodaya Bal Vidyalaya run by Delhi Govt at Lajpat Nagar in New Delhi. The happiness curriculum was introduced by the Delhi Government last year. PHOTO: R. V. Moorthy R_V_Moorthy  

 

On the eve of U.S. President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump’s arrival in the Capital, the U.S. Embassy said it had “no objection” to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia’s presence at a Delhi government school, which the First Lady is scheduled to visit here on Tuesday.

A U.S. Embassy spokesperson further said that the Embassy appreciates their “recognition” that it was “not a political event,” with a specific focus on children. According to PMO sources, no Chief Minister is part of the Trump visit.

While the Gujarat Chief Minister is not part of the roadshow, the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister is not part of the Taj visit. Besides, PMO sources said, the matter was the prerogative of the U.S. Embassy.

Read more
 

8:50 am

 

Gujarat CM welcomes Trump

Prime Minister Modi tweeted: "India awaits your arrival @POTUS @realDonaldTrump! Your visit is definitely going to further strengthen the friendship between our nations. See you very soon in Ahmedabad."

 

February 23 | 8:45 pm

 

Trump leaves for India

 

 

 

"Entire Gujarat speaks in one voice- #NamasteTrump!"

 

 

 

 

Three-hour programme at Motera cricket stadium

At the newly built ‘world’s largest cricket stadium’, there will be a three-hour programme, including public interaction and cultural programmes, before and after the President and the Prime Minister’s speeches. Among the cultural programmes will be music performances by top Bollywood singer Kailash Kher and other leading Gujarati singers and performers.

Read more

 

Ahmedabad joint rally with Trump will be historic, says Modi

India looks forward to welcoming President Donald Trump. It is an honour that he will be with us tomorrow, starting with the historic programme in Ahmedabad,” said Mr. Modi in a tweet on Sunday.

Read more

(With inputs from PTI)

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Printable version | Mar 28, 2020 11:44:34 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/uspresident-donald-trump-in-india-live-updates/article30900597.ece

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